Retrocommissioning Should Involve Operating Staff

By Edward Sullivan, Editor  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Retrocommissioning Can Cut Costs by Improving Controls PerformancePt. 2: Benefits of Retrocommissioning Quickly Pay for CostsPt. 3: DDC Controls Make Retrocommissioning Easier, More EssentialPt. 4: This Page

Although retrocommissioning may seem to be exclusively a matter of hardware and software, the facility operating staff is actually vital to success. For example, if an operator doesn’t trust the optimization function to turn equipment on at the proper times, the operator may come in a 5 a.m. and turn all the chillers on, just to be safe.

“The first thing I do is talk to the building operators,” says Moser. He finds that they know the quirks of building operation better than anyone, even if they don’t have the time to investigate optimization opportunities.

Because the operating staff ultimately has control over the system, it’s essential to ensure that the controls are no more sophisticated than the people who will operate the system.

“We want to make the system work, keeping the operator’s level of knowledge in mind,” says Moser.

One approach is to limit the system capabilities to the knowledge of the operators. Another is to upgrade the operators’ knowledge base.

“Operator training is important,” Moser says. When planning training, keep in mind that it may not just be the chief engineer who can make changes to the control settings. Even if the chief engineer is trained, other people on the staff may make changes and neglect to tell the chief engineer. “It’s important to get everyone on board, not just the chief engineer,” says Moser. That may mean training others on the staff, or restricting the ability of other staff members to make changes to the system.

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— Edward Sullivan, editor, Building Operating Management

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  posted on 9/21/2009   Article Use Policy

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